As you've been busy writing letters recently, here's an opportunity for one more.
However, this one is time critical.
Westminster City Council (WCC) first opened 7 of its bus lanes to motorcycles back in September 2005 in an experiment to assess the safety of the idea regarding all road users.
In 2007 the scheme was made permanent after the trials proved positive and now, only 5 years later, they are extending the idea.
This time, as I mentioned in the mailout last week, they are beginning trials on 8 more bus lanes, but this time they are focussing on the part we know bikes can play in congestion reduction, improved traffic flow, urban air quality as well as safety.
Following their long term trial, TfL (Transport for London) statistics showed that traffic flow can be improved by allowing motorbikes into bus lanes so WCC is now looking to extend its own project further across all roads in the city.
Westminster CC say "The intent of the Order is to secure the expeditious, convenient and safe movement of traffic including powered two wheeler riders and pedestrians." Quite. They also acknowledge the TfL study that demonstrated dramatically reduced emissions and that bus activity, including at bus stops, is not affected at all. With an increase of 11% recently in PTW traffic in London, we know that people can be encouraged to leave cars at home.
Of course we already know this, and appreciate the part that bikes can play in all transport policy, but we now need to assure Westminster that they are doing a good thing!
There isn't a formal consultation document as such, so what you need to do to comment on the proposals, is please write to John Birch, West One, 10th Floor, Westminster City Hall,64 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6QP or email email@example.com by 26th March 2012.
At this stage it would be good to offer support, to say how good it is that Westminster City Council acknowledges the part motorcycles can play in reducing congestion and how towns and cities all over the country are adopting the same policy after trials prove positive for safety and traffic flow.
You will no doubt be aware that WCC policy toward motorcycle parking is not as enlightened, but this letter is not the place to point that out. Our concern is that the London Cycle Lobby will be launching a campaign of negative opinion, so at this point, and on this issue, it really is a numbers game as we need to swamp them with positive public opinion. If they adopt this scheme permanently, it will be even harder for them to justify the parking charges.
If you remember, could you please Bcc firstname.lastname@example.org MAG's Transport Consultant, so that he can keep some account of the numbers of letters arriving at the Council. This will help in his next WCC meeting in a fortnight's time. Thankyou.
Finally, because so many of you are asking about the insurance company that won't honour my claim for the theft of my bike last week, I'd just like to say that at this point, I can't name them, as negotiations are ongoing. The underwriters who pay out are not the brokers though who sell cover in the first place. I feel there will be a time and then I'd be delighted if you all put pen to paper or used facebook, but just at the minute I can't. Thank you all for the condolence though and continued offers of support.
-- Paddy Tyson Campaigns Coordinator Motorcycle Action Group www.mag-uk.org 01926 844064